What do shuttlers like Viktor Axelsen, Tai Tzu Ying, and the pair of Gideon and Sukamuljo have in common? If you said that they’re the best players in badminton, you’re spot on! But have you ever wondered how it is that they’ve risen to the highest echelons of the sport? Have you ever asked yourself how badminton players are ranked?
Badminton players are ranked by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) based on the number of tournaments they’ve won. Besides the number of victories in tournaments, badminton players are also ranked according to the tiers of the tournaments they’ve won, along with how many they’ve been in.
There’s more. Players can only rank in their respective divisions. For example, placing 1st in the mixed doubles category won’t get someone a place in the singles categories — male or female.
Read on to learn more about how your favorite BWF stars got to the top tiers of badminton!
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What are the Five Types of Rankings in Badminton?
The BWF has different tiers for its competitions, each conferring different points for participants and victors. The higher the tier, the more points a player earns from participating and winning.
The five tiers or rankings are the BWF World Ranking, BWF World Tour Ranking, BWF World Junior Ranking, BWF World Team Ranking, and the Olympic Ranking. In these ranking tiers, it’s tournaments in the BWF World Ranking tournaments and the Olympics that confer the most points for badminton players.
Players need to participate in more than one tournament in any of the above-mentioned rankings to have a place in the BWF standings. There’s also a time frame in which do to this — 52 weeks, to be exact.
The five ranking types require players to participate in tournaments of varying grades. The BWF World Championships and the Olympics are the grade one tournaments. Grade one tournaments are the highest.
Next to these grade one tournaments are grade 2 tournaments which are comprised of the six BWF World Tour tournaments. These tournaments begin at level six and ascend to level one.
The lowest tournament grade is grade 3. Under grade 3 tournaments are the Future Series, International Series, and International Challenge.
These tournaments comprise the World Junior Ranking.
Players begin chalking up ranking points at the lower tiers of the ranking system. Players who are younger than 19 can begin climbing up the badminton ranks by joining World Junior Ranking-grade tournaments.
In short, players start ranking by taking part in grade 3 tournaments. From there, they can ascend the badminton ladder and qualify for the BWF World Rankings or the Olympic Rankings.
How Many Points are Awarded for Every Ranking?
As I mentioned earlier, different tournaments in different rankings will award their victors with points. I’ve also mentioned that the higher the ranking, the more points players can add to their BWF stats.
World Ranking and Olympic-grade tournaments (grade 1) give winners 13,000 points — the most of any tournament grade. Players who win BWF World Tour tournaments can add anywhere from 5,500 to 12,000 points depending on the level of the tournament (i.e., level 6 to 1). Tournaments in the World Junior Rankings like the Future Series, International Series, and International Challenge award winners 1,700, 2,500, and 4,000 points respectively.
Competition is stacked at every level. However, players don’t need to win to get any points out of any BWF graded tournament you join. Players can get points just by taking part. How many they can get will depend on where players place in the tournament.
Let’s get into the details:
World Ranking or Olympic Games (Grade 1 Tournaments)
The victors in these tournaments get as many as 13,000 points added to their BWF statistics. Runner-up receive 11,000 points. For placing third or fourth, players can receive 9,200 points and 7,200 for placing fifth to eighth.
Taking ninth until the 16th place will get players 5,200 points, and the 17th to the 32nd place gets players 3,200.
BWF World Tour Ranking (Grade 2 Tournaments)
World Tour tournaments sanctioned by the BWF consist of six levels, with level one being the highest.
Level one tournaments, as well as level two tournaments, give the winners and runners-up 12,000 and 10,200 points respectively. For placing third or fourth, players can take home 8,400 while those who placed fifth to eighth can get up to 6,600 points. Ninth to 16th place will get players 4,800 points. Winning 17th to 32nd place gets players 3,000 points.
Level three tournament winners get 11,000 points whereas runners-up win 9,350 points. 7,700 points go to whoever places third or fourth. Fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth place give players 6050 points. If players place ninth to 16th, they’ll get 4,320 points added to their stats.
The winners of level four tournaments win 9,200 points. Runners-up win 7,800 points. For those who place third or fourth, there will be 6,420 points waiting for them. 5,040 points go to fifth to eighth placers while players who place ninth to 16th win 3,600 points.
Level five tournaments give winners 7,000 points while winning second place gets players 5,950 points. There are 4,900 points for those who win third or fourth place. Placing fifth to eight gets players 3,030 points. Placing ninth to 16th gives players 2,750 points.
Lastly, level six tournament winners and runners-up get 5,500 and 4,680 points, respectively. Winning third or fourth adds 3,850 points to their stats. Fifth to eighth place puts 3,030 points on the BWF stats of players, and ninth to 16th gets tournament participants 2,110.
The Continental Level (Grade 3 Tournaments)
The Continental Level consist of grade 3 tournaments. Under this ranking, there are three tournaments. These three tournaments are the International Challenge, International Series, and Future Series.
The International Challenge is the highest-tier tournament of the Continental Level. 4,000 points go to its winners with the runners-up taking 3,400 points. For third and fourth place, players get 2,800 points whereas placing fifth to eighth gets players 2,200.
The International Series awards 2,500 and 2,130 points to the winners and runners-up, respectively. Third and fourth place gets players 1,750 points while those who place fifth to eighth get 1,370 points.
Future Series tournaments award winners and runners-up 1,700 and 1,430 points, in order. Second runners-up and those who place fourth can chalk up 1,170 points for participating — 250 points more than fifth to eighth place winners.
What is the World Ranking?
Every competitive badminton player wants to reach the pinnacle of the sport — being part of the BWF World Ranking. But what is it?
The BWF World Ranking is the ranking system for all open tournaments held and sanctioned by the BWF. The only tournaments that will not count towards the BWF World Ranking are tournaments in the World Junior Rankings. The World Ranking is the highest ranking in the sport, sharing the prestige of the World Tour Ranking.
Along with the BWF World Tour Ranking, otherwise known as the HSBC Race to Guangzhou, the World Ranking is the main ranking tier of the sport. There’s a spot in the BWF World Rankings for each of the five badminton disciplines. These disciplines are men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
Because each discipline has its own spot in the World Ranking, players can only rank based on the discipline they mainly compete in. For example, if a player competes in women’s singles in most of the BWF open tournaments, she can only get points to rank in the women’s singles division of the World Ranking.
What Ranking Do You Need to Qualify for the Olympics?
Badminton is still an Olympic sport, and to compete at the most prestigious sporting event on the planet, badminton players need to have certain qualifications — particularly a certain ranking.
Players need to qualify for the Olympics with their World Ranking. According to the BWF’s statutes on ranking, players in the World Ranking can qualify for a spot in the Olympic Games, as well as the World Championships.
In short, the road to the Olympics starts with a player’s World Ranking. There are two ways to qualify.
The first way is for players who have competed in less than 11 BWF open tournaments. According to the BWF, players who have only played less than 11 open tournaments within 52 weeks can qualify based on their total points in these tournaments.
If a player has participated in 11 or more BWF open tournaments, the system of point accumulation changes. Players who have participated in 11 or more open tournaments only need to take the 10 highest points from the 11 or more tournaments and add them. If they have enough points, they make it to the World Ranking. This makes them qualify for the Olympics.
Performance and Participation Lead to Better Standings
Overall, the ranking system of badminton is based on a player’s performance in several events. The more BWF-sanctioned tournaments players show up for, the more points they can earn. The more points they earn, the higher up the World Ranking they go.
Win or lose, players have a chance at ranking by consistently putting excellent performances on the court.
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